$2 million lawsuit against me

Mehdi Khalaji, an Iranian ‘expert’ at the Washington Institute for the Near East Policy (WINEP) has now officially filed a libel and defamation lawsuit against me in Canada and has claimed $2,000,000 damages. َQuite a modest champion of free speech, isn’t he?

Why? Because I’ve been very critical about him serving the likes of Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, James Woosley and the rest of those filthy warmongers at the Washington Institute for the Near East Policy (WINEP), which was established by and is strongly associated with the Israeli Lobby’s in the United States, according to Mearsheimer and Walt.

As a result, I have written that Khalaji, an advoacte of the economic warfare against Iran, is a traitor to his people and his country, as a result.
The new claims are again based on the same mistranslation of my writings on him which I exposed and refuted in length a while ago, when he threatened my hosting company (Florida-based Hosting Matters) that led them to promptly terminate the accounts I had with them.

Now apparently, with the backing of his friends at the Israeli lobby’s think-tank, he is trying to bankrupt me by starting this silly legal procedure.
I would appreciate it if you could spread the word in your blogs or websites and also if you’ve got any tips on the right organisation or lawyer to approach. One way would be obviously Digging it.

Here is the full text of the claim if you like to see.
Here is also again his claims and my refutation. I wonder if the court had accepted the claim in the first place, had it known it was based on aa mistranslation of my writings:

These defamatory statements by Hossein Derakhshan directly and by innuendo:

a) state falsely that our client is a traitor to the government and people of Iran;

Mehdi Khalaji is hired by a think-tank, created by the Israeli lobbying group in the US (AIPAC)[1] and has openly advocated for military action[2] or economic sanctions[3] to overthrow the government of Iran[4]. Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and James Woolsey, all strong advocates for regime change in Iran[5][6], are on its board[7].

Washington Institute for the Near East Policy (WINEP), Mr. Khalaji works for[8], has a clear agenda against Iran and that makes Mr. Khalaji, an Iranian citizen, a ‘traitor’ based on the definition of the word. (The American Heritage dictionary defines ‘traitor’ as “One who betrays one’s country, a cause, or a trust.”[9])

b) state falsely that our client has worked for U.S. Vice-President Cheney’s office; and by innuendo is a dupe or puppet of the U.S. government;

Mistranslated. The correct translation is that Mr. Khalaji “indirectly” and “through WINEP” gives advise to vice-president Cheney’s office.

WINEP’s director, Robert Satloff says that its products have been made accessible to “high-level Washington-based officials, prominent journalists, and senior diplomats.”[10] Vice-president’s office is surly where many “high-level Washington-based officials” work and therefore WINEP’s products, that includes Mr. Khalaji’s contribution, reach Mr. Cheney’s office.

There are also strong ties between WINEP and Cheney’s office. For example, John P. Hannah, a deputy director of WNEP now serves[11] at a high position at the vice-president’s office since 2001.

c) state falsely that our client has counselled the Vice-President of the United States of America to bomb our client’s former offices in Iran;

Mistranslated. What I have written is that it is Mr. Cheney who wants to bomb Iran[12], not that Mr. Khalaji advises him to do so. Mehdi Khalaji has worked [13] as a section editor in a newspaper, titled Entekhab run by Taha Hashemi, a cleric appointee[14] of Ayatollah Khamenei in a government-funded organization related to the Qom’s clerical school.

Mr. Khalaji wrote later in an article for the BBC Persian that the publishers of Entekhab had the personal support of Ayatollah Khamenei for the newspaper.[15]

A military attack on Iran surly could also destroy the building of Entekhab newspaper in central Tehran, where Mehdi Khalaji was once working.

d) state falsely that our client has counselled the Vice-President of the United States of America to bomb our thousands of men, women and children;

Mistranslated. Again, what I have written is that it is Cheney who wants to bomb Iran, not that Khalaji advises him to do so. Obviously thousands of men and women and children would be killed in a military strike against Iran.

e) state falsely that our client counsels enemies of Iran and of humanity;

Based on its output, it’s clear that WINEP does not have a friendly policy toward Iran and openly advocates for regime change. So they are enemies of Iran and Khalaji counsels them.

Given the grave consequences of the illegal US-led invasion of Iraq, I believe those who supported and administered that invasion are enemies of humanity. At least two of these people, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle are on WINEP’s board where Khalaji counsels and WINEP had repeatedly and openly supported the invasion.[16]

f) incites others to follow the defamer Hossein Derakhshan’s lead by spitting in our client’s face;

Mistranslated. The correct translation reads “I don’t know what name you want to give this conscious intellectual contribution by Mr. Khalaji to the most merciless and dirtiest enemies of Iran and humanity. But I know that if someday I face him in person, instead of saying hello, I will through a big spit on his face.” There is nothing inciting others to do anything here.

g) state falsely that our client holds and publicizes the belief that political change is not possible from within Iran;

This is not false. Mehdi Khalaji finishes his presentation at the AFPC meeting with the following paragraph in which he bluntly rejects the possibility of reform (5′ 55 form the video)[17]:

“The majority of people might not be [unclear word] to the political agenda of the government, but instead suffer from its policy and restrictions upon social freedom without possessing any concrete effective means for any change or reform. Idealism has been reconstructed not only in terms of government’s perception of politics, but also in terms of citizens public ambitions. Thus, the regime seems to be more solid and stable as ever before. Therefore the prospect of the prospect for political change is dark.”

Moreover, in an interview with Radio Zamaneh he adds “well, for me the Islamic Republic is similar to Dariush Mehrjooie’s film, ‘Ejarehneshin-ha.’ The owner of the building… doesn’t permit any minor changes… Then what will happen? The whole building collapses.”[18]


h) state falsely that our client struggles to converse and express himself in the English language;

Mistranslated. Correct translation reads “Mehdi Khalaji, while sweating to read smoothly from the English translated text of his article.”

But it is true that Mr. Khalaji has problems, at least in terms of reading, pronunciation and intonation. The recorded video of his speech (mentioned above) clearly shows that Khalaji mispronounces or struggles to read and pronounces many words including ‘entirety,’ ‘unprecedented’ and ‘ judicial.’

i) state falsely that our client counsels the government of the United States of America to choose military action and economic sanctions against Iran, over and instead of diplomatic talks;

Mistranslated. The correct translation reads that Khalaji “tried to show why political change from within is impossible in Iran and therefore the U.S., in order to remove ‘the increasing threat by Iran against world piece’ should not negotiate with Iran. Instead, through economic sanctions (or implicitly even through military invasion if its it was feasible.)”

Khalaji said these words in a conference to an audience at the AFPC, not to the government. I didn’t quoted from him, but sumerised in my own words what could he ultimately mean by his speech.

The words in quotation mark (‘the increasing threat by Iran against world piece’) refers to a widely used theme by the media and the politicians and by doing so I’m trying to mock the sterotypical aspect of those words.

j) state falsely that our client’s academic research paper are in reality thinly veiled instruction manuals on how to locate and attack the weaknesses of the legitimate government of Iran;

In May 2006, Mehdi Khalaji says to a Wall Street Journal reporter “Western countries must push the internal conflicts inside the Iranian government.”[19]

In July 2007, in an article published on WINEP’s website, Khalaji writes:

“For the West, there are many advantages if Iran’s leadership is weakened by internal disputes. Such an Iran would be busier domestically and therefore less able to concentrate on foreign adventures. It would also be more aware of its weaknesses and therefore more likely to compromise. To be sure, a weak Supreme Leader would presumably have less authority to impose difficult compromises on objecting factions. That, however, seems like a price worth paying in order to see a less powerful revolutionary leadership.“[20]

k) state falsely that our client is a proponent of, and openly supports, civil unrest, revolution and a regime change in Iran through the use of the military, and violence if necessary; and

Mistranslated. I never implied Khalaji supports violent change. It is Khalaji’s employer, the Washington Institute, who has advocated regime change through violence.

In February 2007, Jeffery White, a defence fellow at the Washington Institute, writes[21]:

“The choices for dealing with the Iranian challenge, both in and outside Iraq, are not clear, and the consequences of making the wrong choices are dire. But by the time the choices are clear, it will be too late for anything but acquiescence to the presence of a nuclear-armed Iran driven by hostility toward the West — or a war to prevent it. “

But in his interview with Radio Zamaneh he explicitly advocates for a ‘fundamental change’, defining it as the removal of Ayatollah Khamanei, the Supreeme leader of the Islamic Republic, in a similar fashion to non-violent revolutions in Eastern Europe. He then adds that this fundamental change is “impossible without foreign assistance.”[22]

l) clearly evidence a personal vendetta being waged by Hossein Derakhshan against our client, under the guise of alleged “commentary.”

Before Khalaji started working for the Washington Institute, I had written positive posts about him and his writings. [23] [24]

But since he started working for the neo-conservative Washington Institute with its clear agenda to overthrow the Islamic Republic, even through military action if necessary, I have been critical about Khalaji’s contribution to such entity. The same way I have been critical of Mohsen Sazgera who was a fellow there before Khalaji. [25]

I have never met Khalaji and never had anything personal against him, either in public or private and what I have written about him is only based on his work.

At the same time, I am a established commentator on Iranian affairs. Aside from my bilingual blog that I have written in the past six years, I am a columnist for The Guardian[26], Washington Post[27] websites. My writings have also appeared on The New York Times[28], International Herald Tribune[29],, BBC News[30], Die Zeit[31], etc. and I have been interviewed by various print or broadcast media on Iranian affairs. [32]

  1. ^ http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/mear01_.html
  2. ^ http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC05.php?CID=2520
  3. ^ http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC04.php?CID=257
  4. ^ http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/download.php?file=Soref2006.pdf
  5. ^ http://www.antiwar.com/lobe/?articleid=4200
  6. ^ http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article3422.htm
  7. ^ http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC11.php?CID=133
  8. ^ http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC10.php?CID=33
  9. ^ http://www.answers.com/topic/traitor
  10. ^ http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC11.php?CID=21
  11. ^ http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/2926
  12. ^
  13. ^ http://news.gooya.eu/politics/archives/2007/04/058513.php
  14. ^ http://www.shareh.com/new/persian/magazine/hawzah/61/01.htm
  15. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/iran/story/2005/08/printable/050803_mj-mkhalaji-qom-press.shtml
  16. ^ http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC05.php?CID=1486
  17. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAhLUjGPJ8Y
  18. ^
  19. ^ http://www.opinionjournal.com/wsj/?id=110008382
  20. ^ http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC05.php?CID=2638
  21. ^ http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC05.php?CID=2567
  22. ^
  23. ^ http://i.hoder.com/archives/2003/08/030805_007814.shtml
  24. ^
  25. ^ http://i.hoder.com/archives/2005/03/050322_013794.shtml
  26. ^ http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/hossein_derakhshan/index.html
  27. ^ http://blog.washingtonpost.com/postglobal/hossein_derakhshan/
  28. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/28/opinion/28Derakhshan.html
  29. ^ http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/01/30/opinion/edhossein.php
  30. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4947354.stm
  31. ^ http://www.zeit.de/2005/27/Iran
  32. ^ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hossein_Derakhshan#References

Related article by Mehdi Khalaji:

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